Mike had a hastily-planned casual "date" with Jan White, an Alpha Gamma Delta sorority girl from Coe College. The occasion was the school's annual "Flunk Day", an event held each spring when the Student Council president picked a day where all students would skip classes and take off for picnics and games somewhere off campus. Mike wasn't dating anyone; he didn't really know Jan, and some friends in his fraternity fixed him up with her.
They rode together to the off-campus site in a fraternity brother's car. Mike learned that she lived in Cedar Rapids (thus considered a "townie"), about 2 miles from the school . She was a Music & Art major; Mike's was English. They didn't have much in common, apart from both being Freshmen.
Mike's fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha) had arranged the location, a remote park some miles outside of town. The day started with everyone finding a spot to set up among the fields and forests, and the two joined some activities (softball, tug-of-war, etc.). Jan wanted to walk around, and they went towards the woods...where she then shocked Mike by asking him to kiss her (!). This led more kissing and necking throughout the day, continuing when they returned to the campus. Mike was smitten.
Note: although this happened off-campus, today's incarnations of "Flunk Day" appear to be on-campus activities and more benign, "controlled" student fun.
Their relationship grew during the rest of the semester: they saw each other every day after that. Jan had a car at school, and they were able to go to movies and occasional off-campus meals. Her car had belonged to Jan's older brother, who had tragically taken his life a couple of years earlier (Jan came home from high school one day and found him hanging in the garage...).
When the semester ended, Mike didn't have a summer job lined up, but he needed to earn money for the next year. Falling back on earlier summer camp experiences (Boy Scout and church camps), he landed a job as a counselor at a nearby summer camp. Life was pretty good then, as he could use Jan's car to get there (and back to Cedar Rapids every 2 weeks), and their relationship continued. When he was back in town for those weekends, Mike was able to stay in the college's dorm. While at the camp, he wrote long letters to her.
The summer passed that way, Mike and Jan seeing a lot of each other, and Sophomore year started for both. Mike went back to his job at the Gulf station, and he had to declare his major. This was a problem, though, because the head of the English department was a militant feminist known to dislike men - athletes in particular. Athletes avoided her classes, knowing she'd arbitrarily fail them. Mike couldn't avoid her, because he had to take her some of classes for his major.
The "axe fell" in the 2nd semester, when although Mike had been doing well in a class she taught (tennis athletes were basically unknown at Coe), he was called out of a class by the tennis coach for an out-of-town match at another college. The A's and B's he'd been getting immediately became failing grades (the campus rumor was true). This was the first time in his life he had encountered true discrimination, and it ruined his college experience.
Their romance Jan continued, though; they got "pinned" (a college-era form of engagement) and started planning a future together. He brought her back to Evanston over Thanksgiving, and purchased an engagement ring for her.
There was another obstacle: money for college expenses. Mike's sister was attending Northwestern University, and his funds were running out. The fraternity had a big "spring formal" planned, with mandatory attendance for all members. Members had to pay a sizeable fine if they didn't attend, and it cost more to not go than to attend. Mike couldn't afford either option, so he left school with 5 weeks left in his Sophomore year. He intended to find a job, save money and return to Coe as soon as possible.
However, Jan didn't wait. She returned the ring, and Mike's first romantic relationship ended. (He visited her some years later when he made a business trip to Cedar Rapids. She had married a fellow student from Cedar Rapids, Robert Kubik, in her Senior year and had 2 kids.)